The end of the year is rapidly approaching, but the hideous noise keeps rolling on in. Here are three recent head-splitting happenings from the NZ punk community. There’s the return of curmudgeonly punks Spiteful Urinator. Another riotous fest honouring anarchist Neil Roberts. Plus, the grotesque debut from aptly named grindcore crew Dogcock. Yum. Enjoy.
Spiteful Urinator: Acid Earth
A couple of months ago, I was busy raving about the blistering new 7” from New Zealand punks Spiteful Urinator, and here they are all over again. The ill-mannered band’s latest CDr release, Acid Earth, features cover art that pays tribute to old-school Japanese crusties Acid. That’s a fitting tribute too. Because Spiteful Urinator’s mix of dark and grim D-beat, hardcore and black metal is often as filthy and frenzied as the nastiest Nippon punk.
Acid Earth features another 10 bulldozing tracks – including a trio of covers of One Way System, Reagan Youth and Sodom. Spiteful Urinator continue their usual antagonistic approach, and everything here is duly relentless, raw, and in-your-fucking-face. Vitriolic tracks like “Grip Turns to Fist”, “Callous Incision” and “Unsatisfactory Prizes” see guitarist Sean Carmichael, drummer Bryan, and bassist Tonamu roaring through bristling swamps of abrasive hardcore. And all the while vocalist Dane Bailey barks and croaks like an ultra-surly black metal warrior of olde.
Elsewhere, Spiteful Urinator inject plenty of boiling bile and belligerence into dissonant tracks like “Damp Houses”, “Central Premise” and “In the Shadows”. (And those aforementioned cover songs are performed with abundant obnoxious glee too.) No question, Acid Earth confirms, yet again, that Spiteful Urinator’s mix of primitive punk and venomous metal makes for an enticing brew for dog-on-a-string punks and unwashed rivetheads alike.
Neil Roberts Day 2018
And speaking of Spiteful Urinator, the band recently joined a bunch of other ear-splitting punk crews in the riverside town of Whanganui to perform at Neil Roberts Day 2018. If you've not heard of Neil Roberts before, the 22-year old anarchist punk died when the explosives he was carrying detonated as he was trying to gain entry to the Whanganui Computer Centre on 18 November 1982.
At that point in time, the Whanganui Computer Centre housed the primary computer systems for a number of NZ law enforcement agencies. Roberts' actions destroyed the centre's entrance and foyer, and while there's debate about whether Roberts' death counts as an intentional suicide bombing or not, there's no question he had the words "This punk wont see 23 - No Future" engraved on his chest not long before his death.
Roberts' death was also linked to a slogan painted on the walls of a nearby public lavatory – "We have maintained a silence closely resembling stupidity" – which is as relevant today as it was back then. Obviously, political violence is a contentious issue and not every agitator agreed with Roberts' course of action. However, during the 80s and early 90s, NZ punks regularly gathered in Whanganui to remember Roberts' death. Although, commemorations eventually petered out.In 2015, thanks to the impetus of John Lake (head-honcho of NZ punk website Up the Punks) and Always Never Fun label founder Sam Thurston (aka Turret Dad and member of bands like Rogernomix, Shortlived, Meth Drinker and more), Neil Roberts Day was born again. Nowadays, with concerns about mass surveillance and data harvesting/sharing on the rise, there's renewed interest in honouring the revolutionary spirit that encourages radicals and rabble-rousers to speak truth to power.
This year's Neil Roberts Day featured a dozen bands, with first-rate noise-makers like Distant Fear, G.D.V, Rogernomix, Poverty and Spit, Piggery, Mutation, Zhukov (and more) delivering deafening sets. If you didn't/couldn't/or were too cripplingly shy (hello!) to make it to Neil Roberts Day 2018, then I've got good news.
Andy Young, who plays guitar in blackened D-beat and crust crew Sick Old Man, tirelessly videoed all the sets from Neil Roberts Day 2018, and you can now watch them on his YouTube channel. Young has also filmed scores of other rowdy NZ punk shows in the past, so make sure you take a good look around his channel. He has plenty of different strains of local punk to sample and enjoy. Of course, Young's not the only one doing vital DIY journaling of the NZ punk scene. The aforementioned Up the Punks has shown a diehard commitment to chronicling riotous shows and happenings for years. The site features plenty of photos from this year’s Neil Roberts Day celebrations on their Facebook page (see above). Make sure you scroll down Up the Punks' Facebook page, as well as taking a good look around their main website. Up the Punks has posted countless action-packed photos (and plenty of bios and other in-depth info) highlighting NZ's punk community and beyond.
Mad respect. 4realz.
One final note: as Up the Punks points out on their FB page, it’s been a tough and tragic year for many in the NZ punk scene. Neil Roberts Day 2018 was duly dedicated to the memory of Jesse James Jarsen, Anna Bouwmeester, Kalem O'Brien and Dan Fatal. RIP, one and all.
Enjoy whippersnapper Wellington crusties G.D.V at Neil Roberts Day 2018 below. And don't forget to check out Young's larger collection of similarly gnarly shows.
Charmingly named Hamilton band Dogcock features members who've played in the equally delightfully named Aborted Christians, as well as fastcore group High Risk Maneuver. (FYI: you can check out Aborted Christians' blackened grind via their Sustained by Evil, Possessed in Hell release right here.) Like Aborted Christians, Dogcock's purposefully provocative mix of punk and metal shows zero regard for finesse, comfort or accessibility. Instead, Dogcock hack into the gristliest death metal, grindcore and thrashcore on their self-titled debut. The result: a red-raw musical massacre.
Opening their debut with a heartening ode to their hometown ("Fucking shithole surrounded by cows"), Dogcock tear through ten tracks in a similar number of minutes. Every one of those tracks is as crude as it is chaotic and caustic – and you can forget any technical showboating. The riffs and vocals here are all ragged and jagged, and Dogcock sound as ugly and objectionable as their name implies.
Of course, ugly wins the day around here. So if you're seeking ultra-gruff and ultra-grimy death 'n' grind, Dogcock's obnoxious ejaculations might be just what you're looking for. There's only one way to find out. Get guzzling.